Creating For Its Own Sake

Creating For Its Own Sake

It’s no great secret that poets like having an audience. I remember once hearing at an open mic night that “poets live on alcohol and applause”. It’s a little flippant, but not entirely inaccurate. At least, it is for me. There’s a part of my soul that thrives on attention. It’s why I perform and, if I’m being brutally honest with myself, it’s not an insignificant part of why I write. I want an audience. I want people to look at my work and “Yes this is good art” or “This really speaks to me” or “Wow let’s give you lots of money to make more of this. Also a house. And a cat” (the latter hasn’t happened
yet, but I hold out hope).

I love the events I attend, I love my blog, I love my Twitter and my Facebook and my Patreon. Every time someone tells me they enjoyed my work, or clicks on a like button, when I get notified of a new patron, it’s a little magical. That these people, these real living people with lives and hobbies and limited time on earth want to spend some of that with my work seems almost too amazing to be true. But envy is a tricky thing. I envy the writers with thousands of Facebook followers, the ones giving guest lectures and appearing on TV. I see them and I want what they have. Measured against someone like Melissa Lozada-Oliva or Rudy Francisco or, of course, Rupi Kaur, I feel less like a small
fish in a big pond than an amoeba in an ocean. Compared to viral videos on Button Poetry and sell out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, the quiet constant support I get from loved ones, the slightly over-excited conversations in the back rooms of pubs, can often feel inadequate. It can feel exceedingly similar to being ignored. And that silence, when blog posts go unnoticed and YouTube videos unseen, is too often overwhelming. More than once I’ve had to actively stop myself from deleting my Twitter, Patreon, or poetry Dropbox because I’ve felt like I’m screaming into the void.

Perhaps one day I’ll have the kind of audience I want, the kind where total strangers message me to tell me how they found some kind of joy or solace in what I create, but I’m not there yet. I don’t have the time, energy or skills to build the kind of reach part of me craves. But what I do have is the knowledge that 8 year old Maz memorised poetry because it is beautiful, that 14 year old Maz made sense of her adolescence by scribbling in a notebook, that the first open mic 19 year old Maz attended felt like coming home. An audience is nice, but it isn’t why I started writing. I have words humming under my skin that are dying to get out. There are characters and places and stories I can only tell using almost excessive amounts of metaphor. There’s the way a new poem tastes when I can tell it is going to be beautiful. There’s the incredible high of committing something new to memory and having it bounce around my head for weeks.

In poetry I have found a diverse and welcoming community. I’ve been to nights that go from horror to anarchist manifesto, from confessional to fantasy epic. Within the wonderful creative spaces I am blessed enough to inhabit, I go beyond writing for my own ego or satisfaction; I add to a conversation. Every night I go to, every book I read, I am taught something new and it makes me a better poet. No, I don’t have adoring fans, but I have more peers, comrades and teachers than I thought possible. It is tempting to make all my poetry goals about reaching a bigger audience or getting a larger fee for performing. There’s nothing wrong with having those goals, but I’m learning to get better at centring my growth as a poet. Am I consistently trying new things? Am I stretching myself? Am I having fun? That is infinitely more important than how many strangers double tap on an Instagram post. I may never have a large audience. I may always be talking to a couple people on a tiny little blog in an obscure corner of the internet, or to a couple dozen people in the back room of a pub. I may never be entirely happy with that. But I am happy with creating, with learning and growing.

Poetry is my lifeblood. And that’s valuable for its own sake.

By Maz Hedgehog.

Connect with Maz further: PatreonBlogEtsyFacebook

 

My KonMari Journey

My KonMari Journey

I have wanted to speak about this book for so long! You may have realised that if you read my January Favourites where this book gets it’s first mention! I’m not even sure if I will be able to cram in everything I have to say into one blog post. This process has been so deep for me, that I am making new observations each day even several months later. I knew I needed time to really digest the information and the process the book takes you through but I feel like now, right at we are entering spring cleaning season is probably the best time to share my experiences! As you may have guessed from today’s title, I am discussing The Life Changing Magic of Tidying. I had known about this book for quite some time yet it had never really caught my eye. I suppose I already thought of myself as a tidy person, I would routinely have clearcuts of my possessions and I liked to keep my room fairly minimal. (I’m an all-neutrals decor sort of person, and I don’t even like to hang things on the walls) I actually ended up reading The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck first, I think I had originally bought it to see me through a long train journey. I then became determined to get my hands on the original inspiration!

Breakdown

I won’t go too deep into the methods taught in this book or even the reasons why Marie so strongly believes that everyone should learn to tidy. I think if this is something that you’re interested in then it’s really worth reading the book and hearing her perspective for yourself. I will however give you a quick breakdown. For those of you who don’t know, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying is a book by Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo on her signature technique of tidying, the KonMari method. Yes you heard that right, this woman spends her days visiting her clients houses teaching them how to put their things in order, once and for all. Her two main focus’s on keeping the ultimate state of balance in the home? First discarding that which does not bring you joy and secondly; finding somewhere to keep each and every item in the house.

“This incredibly easy method will not just transform your space, it will change you too. You will feel more confident, become more successful and be motivated to create the life you want.”  

– Marie Kondo

I mean, who doesn’t want that? I’m aware that sounds like a pretty large claim for a book about tidying. Does it live up to its promise? I can’t speak on behalf of everyone who has ever read this but I can share how it has been for me!

The Process of Tidying

I read the book and was so full of excitement to get started. I prepared exactly how Marie said, I visualised how I wanted my room to look, I made lists of what to do first and how to do it, I cleared my schedule, I got the bin bags ready and I was filled with a strange rush of excitement. (I say strange because I don’t usually equate “tidying” to “exciting) Initial optimism aside, this process was not easy. At first I was getting through things pretty quickly and felt so satisfied anytime I tossed something on the “no” pile. That night I stared into my bare wardrobe and I had a panicked feeling of “oh dear god what have I done?” (similar to the mild type of horrified feeling you usually get when staring into the mirror after you’ve let a hairdresser talk you in chopping a huge chunk of your hair off) After that first night, things slowed down. As I moved onto the more sentimental categories it become more and more difficult to discard. I was taking longer to work through things and it seemed like the piles were growing as I was discovering more stuff of mine, tucked away in forgotten corners of the house. The finish line seemed to be fading away into the distance. It was taking weeks longer than I initially thought. Plus I was still having to live with the bags of discarded items. I had decided what I didn’t want but was yet to have a proper sort through them to decide what was going to friends, what was going to charity shops and what needed to be thrown away. Marie also says it’s best not to show your family the extent of what you’re parting with so I was sleeping with around 6 full bin bags of clothes stacked around my already small room which kind of sent me into a weird headspace. Probably because it reminded me of the Junk Lady scene in Labyrinth which has always freaked me out. (Inserted below, for your viewing pleasure.)

The End Result

“Your real life begins after putting your house in order”

– Marie Kondo

The feeling when this process was finished (I say “finished” loosely, as it is always a work in progress) was one that I will never forget. Like I said, it is still a process even now. As I rearrange my room, order new pieces of decor and get rid of the last few items (things like selling my old electronics) I look at my sentimental items and know that I could still stand to lose some more, I look at my shelves full of old journals and wonder if I should just burn them as opposed to using them as material for a strange yet hopefully endearing one-woman play on my childhood that my brain keeps enthusiastically insisting I’ll create. I dream up the ideal storage solutions every time I look at my makeshift ones but ultimately I am content with what I have right now. It may sound like a large claim but they way I live my life has shifted, improved and upgraded in ways that I cannot explain! My room now feels inspiring, I am surrounded with beautiful things. Clearing out my wardrobe has left me to be more free with how I dress. I can now roll out my yoga matt and actually practise in my bedroom and at night; I sit back in my white bedding, leaning back on the peach cushions I hadn’t taken out of their wrapping for a year, I look round my peaceful room as I write in my diary and I think to myself how beautiful this all is and how uplifted I feel.

The Effects Overall 

Getting into the habit of assessing what is no longer useful in your life helps you to make some very important personal decisions. I decided that a night that I loved running had to go, it was time. I said no to some great opportunities that weren’t going to pay me, I become more protective of my time and energy, I stopped trying to people please, I had enough time to actually get quiet and listen to my body to the point where I realised there was something up, prompting me to get a blood test and learn I had two different nutrient deficiencies. I focused on what was important and got greater clarity with my career. I was able to learn more and retain new pieces of information, after letting go of a heap of thoughts/worries that no longer needed my attention. How could clearing out your room possibly be so significant? There is really nothing I can say that would effectively explain it but for me, I can agree that this process has been indeed, life-changing.  At the start of the process I genuinely thought I didn’t need this as I am “always” tidying. But this is different. This is one thorough way of putting your things and your life in order, once and for all. If you are even remotely interested in this process and concept then I strongly recommend you buy this book.

“Although not large, the space I live in is graced with only the things that speak to my heart. My lifestyle brings me joy. Wouldn’t you like to live this way too?”

– Marie Kondo

I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on this book that has became a downright sensation! If you’ve read any other books on minimalism/decluttering I’d love to hear your suggestions! Next on the list is The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan. I’d also like to remind you that this blog is looking to feature a guest each month! Bear in mind that the aim of this platform is to celebrate creative living in all it’s many aspects, so if you’re an artist, a lifestyle enthusiast or you’re living somewhat outside of the box then I’d love to hear from you! For full details and to submit your pitch, please drop me a message via the form on the “contact” page. I’d like to turn this into a collaborative platform and involve more people from the communities that shape me. Here’s to an exciting few weeks!

Fake News – A Poem

Fake News – A Poem

Throwing it back this week to this poem I wrote for the SAN Conference on fake news!

Lyndsay Writes Poems

IMG_1290 Photo by Sean Murray @vacantart

I hope you’ve had a great week! As a few of you may have noticed, I have spent the last few weeks/months giving a lot more attention to this blog and posting regular content. This week I thought it might be nice to throw it back to one of my earlier posts for the benefit of anyone new around here. I actually really enjoyed sharing my poetry in this way and am cooking up some ideas of how I can creatively share my work in the future! Hope you enjoy this throwback post. As always let me know what you think and share this post with your poetry-loving friends!

….

I don’t often share my poetry on social media, especially not my longer pieces of spoken word. I know that there are a few video’s of me performing live out there in the ether and…

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My Rhymes & Records Goodbye Letter!

My Rhymes & Records Goodbye Letter!

 

I felt it was only right to dedicate this weeks post to saying goodbye to my beloved spoken word night! I don’t think I will really be able to convert all I have to say into a blog post but I will try. I have ran Rhymes & Records; a monthly spoken word night for the last two years, and boy, what a journey it has been! The night’s intention was to feature some of the most exciting artists in the northwest with a balance between emerging and established artist. I wanted people in Liverpool to have access to some incredible artists from further afield while providing a platform and paid opportunities for local artists at the same time.

For those who don’t know, Rhymes & Records was held in The Jacaranda, an iconic music venue in Liverpool. The first place that The Beatles ever played to be exact! It’s one of those venue’s that just has an air of coolness to it, without being pretentious. Young or old, everyone seems to have memories of The Jac and with many bars and restaurants seeming to be in flux in this city, it’s great to have this old listed building still around; well used and well loved. When it first began I remember feeling so nervous. I was convinced that despite there being some interest on Facebook, no-one would show up. I wasn’t sure that I was doing anything different enough to warrant interest and there were already so many poetry nights happening in the city. I triple messaged friends, deterrmind to fill the room somehow, so what if my friends weren’t into poetry? I needed to make sure it wasn’t me alone in a room, with a mic for two hours. It turns out that I didn’t actually need to emotionally blackmail my friends and family into attending because our first ever night was sold out to the point that we had to start turning people away! A few months later me and the venue decided to move from the quirky second floor record store into their bigger space; the basement downstairs. For the next two years, the basement of The Jac was our poetry home!

I would say the night was most known for it’s sense of community. There were many valuable insights and stories shared in that room; things that were important for the speaker to say and things that were important for the audience to hear. I know that many people considered this a safe space where they could open up and for that I am very grateful. The support people showed one-another, especially new performers was really heartwarming. Throughout the months, I’ve seen people grow in confidence with their performance and body language. I’ve seen young people too shy to hold eye contact have a room erupt into laughter from their on-stage banter, I’ve seen people use their words to get to grips with all the happenings in their lives and make sense of the challenges they face. I’ve seen poetry become a form of solace for many people. Without going on a tangent I see all of this as absolute proof of the transformational power of the arts and the importance of it especially in this current climate.

I want to say thank you firstly to everyone who’s headlined: Bradley Thompson, Mark Mace Smith, Matty “Delboy” Delaney, Joy France, Steven Duncan,  Miko Berry, Adam Baird, Ged Thomson, Ann Briggs, Rose Condo, Genevieve L Walsh, Lisa Bower, Callan Waldron-Hall, Helen Tookey, Victoria Sanchez, Christina Thatcher, Ciaran Hodgers, Maz Hedgehog, Kieran King, Jake Wildhall and Tryone Lewis! A huge thank you to everyone who open mic-ed, to The Jacaranda for supporting us and everyone who came along just to watch. A big thank you goes out to anyone who’s helped me: take money on the door, came early to help set up, featured us in an article, filmed, took photographs, live tweeted, brought their friends, written something for the theme, bought an artists book, advertised on Facebook, written press releases or jumped in to lend a hand in any other way. I appreciated and took note of everything you’ve all done. A big thank you to FACT Liverpool for the collaboration on the Unfold exhibition, to Liverpool Pride for letting us host an LGBTQ+ themed night and to Writing on The Wall for introducing some immensely talented young people to the night and for choosing us to host their book launch. Lastly, to the people who patiently listened to all my plans and helped me over the hurdles, thank you.

Not everyone knows this, but I never intended to set up a poetry night. I was originally online looking for a venue to hold a workshop in. I had a manager show some interest and during the phone call, I realised that there had been a miscommunication. I had wanted a room to host a one-off workshop, they wanted someone to host a monthly poetry night. In that moment I realised I had a choice. It would have been so easy to explain that we must have got our wires crossed, but something in me decided to grab the opportunity. I came off the phone a little shocked at myself to say the least “so I guess I run a poetry night now” – I remember thinking. I think I may have burst out laughing at that point. Sometimes the best opportunities come out of sheer fluke, or comprise of things you never even knew you wanted to do.

I have really enjoyed working on this night and I can honestly say it’s something I’m very proud of. Rhymes & Records helped me grow as a person and an artist. I have so many ideas for exciting events I want to create next and I know that the ethos and spirit of Rhymes & Records will be infused into all of them in some way! Here’s to celebrating a fantastic two years, and to all the new experiences that are just around the corner for all of us.

Lyndsay

On Name-Changes and Branding

On Name-Changes and Branding

 

I’ve previously been told that I’m very good at naming things; books, blog-posts, projects and hopefully this will be no exception.

Salt Water Poetry was the name I wrote under for a while when I first got into sharing my poetry online. I picked this name for a few reasons; one being that I was nervous about sharing my poetry with the world so I felt a name would be easier to hide behind and another reason being that I just really liked the sound of it! Salt Water Poetry just sounded like a thing and I was even getting requests from people if they could work for my “company” (I wasn’t even working for my “company” at this point. In reality all SWP consisted of then was a handle on Instagram.) After my spoken word started getting more popular within Liverpool’s poetry scene and I started getting booked for live events and running nights etc. I decided to drop the name and just work under my own. The logic behind this decision being that I didn’t want to form a company and hire people etc. I felt like surely if I was working as a singular person then I wouldn’t need any sort of name or branding? I now realise that that wasn’t technically correct. As far as personal branding is concerned there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Salt Water Poetry feels and has always felt like my brand. I now feel comfortable using this title now that I’m further on with this journey and a little clearer on how I want to show up in the world.

Aside from just liking the title there were a few other reasons why I had decided to use that name. I first started writing to get over heartbreak. At the time, I noticed that water seemed to be a recurring theme within my work. Aside from writing, I had just begun to notice how vital water water for healing; tears, sweat, baths, they all helped. I know a poet writing about water isn’t exactly groundbreaking stuff but there was something in the correlation water had to healing that had caught my interest. Whenever I explain to people the reasons behind my choice of title, I feel a rush of excitement. Salt Water Poetry brings me back to the days where I was first discovering myself artistically, it reminds me of having to summon the bravery to quit my job and move cities in order to peruse poetry more seriously. The name reminds me of the way your voice shakes when you speak the truth and takes me back to a time when I first learned that words could be powerful.

Here’s to creating more power, more authenticity and more bravery this year.

What’s your take on individual branding? How do you market yourself as a singular person and how do you find the balance between showing yourself vs showing the product/service you offer? I find this topic really interesting and will most likely be writing more on the subject this year!

My Top 5 Female Artists

My Top 5 Female Artists

 

A friend of mine recently introduced me to the singer/songwriter Jain (more on her in a minute) after taking a guess that her music would be right up my street. He was right! I was surprised by just how much her work complimented the rest of the music on my playlists. I love nothing more than discovering new music online, so I thought why not share the wealth and introduce people to some of my favourite female artists! For me, a song or artist always has more value attached if it has been recommended by a friend. With International Women’s Day being but a few days away, this post seemed very fitting! Each woman featured here not only produces great music but also ooze’s girl-power vibes. In order to find out more about these artists, I did a little research online. Interestingly, I noticed that for the majority their work seems to be described as a hybrid of several genres, with some artists (e.g Nao who we’ll get onto in a minute) even arguably creating their own genre all together! I do not think this is a coincidence. In fact I think part of the reason why I find these songs so dynamic lies in the fact that the artists seem to be creating new rules for themselves!

1. Jain

A French singer-songwriter who spent various years of her life living in Dubai, Congo-Brazzaville, Abu Dhabi and Paris; her exposure to multiple cultures clearly evident in her music which makes for a truly vibrant, individual and eclectic sound. Her music is fun and fresh.

Favourites: Lil Mama, Makeba, Come and Heads Up

2. Raye

A singer/songwriter from London with Charli XCX and Stormzy being just two of the artists she’s previously worked with. Her music is the kind I would listen to over chilled drinks with friends (if yano, I actually drank alcohol) with a real knowledge of the music industry and many different influences apparent in her work, Raye is predicted to go far! It’s hard to believe that she is just 20.

Favourites: Decline, Flowers, Bet U Wish, I, U, Us

3. Kiiara

An American singer-songwriter from Illinois and one of my favourites of the list! I came across Kiiara one day, on SoundCloud  a few years ago and haven’t looked back! Likened to Lorde, she’s another one who has been hailed for her own take on pop/rnb. I would say Kiiara’s music provides the ultimate getting-ready-to-go-out vibes.

Favourites: Feels, Whippin, Gold, Tennessee, Hang Up The Phone,

4. NAO

A british artist from Nottingham, Nao has rather famously created her own genre for herself, marked as “wonky funk” (something I’m really glad about because I don’t think I would have the words to describe her kind of sound. It’s truly unique.) Nao has a super etheric voice and her music creates an ambient atmosphere.

Favourites: Bad Blood, Girlfriend, In The Morning, she also featured on Firefly by Mura Masa

5. Ibeyi

After first hearing their song River during a D.J set in Bali; I had to make a run for my phone to jot down the lyrics, because I knew this was a song I wanted to hear again! Comprised of two French sisters, their music consists of hauntingly beautiful harmonies and colourful beats. Ibeyi’s music is soup for the soul.

Favourites: River, Mama Says, Away Away

Of course choosing only 5 here was incredibly difficult. To quickly fire off a few more names I would say; Princess Nokia, Daughter and Alessia Cara are all worth checking out, as well as London Grammar and The Internet – two bands featuring a female lead and Oh Wonder which is a male/female duo. I’d love to know who you enjoyed listening to and if you have any plans to celebrate Int. Women’s Day! As quoted by their website: “International Women’s Day is powered by the collective efforts of all”. However you chose to celebrate the female-identifying people in your life, know that every small act adds up!

See you next week where I will be talking you through my recent re-brand! In the meantime, don’t forget to check out my social media (all links on the right hand side) for more behind-the-scenes!

January Write-Up

January Write-Up

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Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

January turned out to be somewhat of an indulgent month for me. I was feeling incredibly burned out throughout the majority of winter. Luckily by mid-December many work commitments had come to an end, meaning I was free to visit friends and spend a lovely Christmas with my family. I always look forward to the New Year and I take my goal-setting very seriously. I spent a large part of January in solitude, reflecting on where I want to go and making space in my life to accommodate these changes. It’s actually been a pretty deep month! Now I’m at the end of it, I’m feeling incredibly refreshed and full of new insights for the year ahead.

Massage & Reiki

Somewhere during the cold, hectic, illness-inducing month that was November; I decided enough was enough and scheduled myself in for a treatment at Louisa Brown Holistic Therapies. The only slot was for early January which felt perfect to me. December was an absolute killer but knowing I had couple of blissful hours of self-care to look forward to helped spur me on. I’ve been treated by Louisa before and I always feel instantly relaxed by her presence. What’s more is that she really knows her stuff when it comes to the science behind her practise, putting a great deal of thought and consideration into the treatments and services she offers. I had the Signature Treatment which combines no-hands-massage, Indian Head massage, facial massage and the option to conclude your treatment with either a foot massage or reiki. (I chose the latter) I’ve seen Louisa in the past for Reiki sessions, which I’m hoping to make more of a regular thing this year. I challenge you to see Louisa and not feel blissed-out afterwards!

Kon-Marie

Over Christmas I was able to cram in a lot of reading, much to my absolute delight. (In fact there are so many books I have enjoyed this month that they may have even earned their own separate blog post.) A strong favourite was The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. A book dedicated to the art of discarding and tidying through her trademarked approach; the Kon-Marie Method. This book has been on my radar for a while, but something about the New Year approaching nudged me into finally purchasing a copy. I won’t go into the methodology behind this book because there are so many wonderful reviews of this best-seller out there. What I will say; is that this was in fact, life changing (or at least it was for me) My room now has so much space and a few small changes here and there have literally changed a drab, over-crowded space into something Pinterest-worthy. After establishing a sense of order and calm within my own space, my entire lifestyle has changed. My room is a place of inspiration, somewhere I can retreat to whenever I want to do some work, relax, listen to a podcast or meditate. I have now become one of those people who EMPTY THEIR PURSE EVERYDAY. I don’t think I can explain how much of a change that is for me. At the end of each day, my clothes all get put away in their designated spaces and my room becomes a haven of relaxation once more and I can focus on what’s really important. If you’re reading this and you think how astonishingly boring I must be; trust me you haven’t experienced the sheer ecstasy that this process can bring! I recommend you all try it or at least give the book a read.

Skincare

After previously being lectured by my beauty-enthusiast friend for not taking better care of my skin (“but I have more important things to worry about” I whined, to which she replied “you will literally have your face for your whole life Lyndsay, you may as well take care of it.) I decided that she may have a point and that it was time to try a few new products. It is important to me that a product is cruelty-free, vegan*, contains mainly natural ingredients and has a low price point. I’ve always thought that I was asking the impossible, hence why I was surprised when I learned that all of these “non-negotiables” of mine are present in the Boots Botanics range! I use their Organic Facial Oil. Because winter hates my skin and I am clearly not supposed to live in England; my face can get incredibly dry this time of year. I find the oil really helps with dryness; it also smells amazing and adds a sense of luxury to your routine. They also include the percentage of organic ingredients present in each product. The oil was labelled 100% organic. I am also using the Triple Age Renewal Eye Correction Serum (which may sound intense but I’ve found that my dry skin enjoys it.) This one contains more chemicals but if you wanted a more natural option, they also have an eye cream in the Organics Range.

*according to my research, the only product that is not vegan is the hot cloth cleanser. Remember to check prior to purchase if this is important to you, because formulas can always change.

 Pinterest

I feel like I sound so cliché but I am really enjoying Pinterest at the moment. I feel that a lot of social media platforms can induce a feeling of comparison within people. What I love about Pinterest is that its users aren’t claiming to have the perfect life. It’s as if by re-pinning something we’re saying “wouldn’t this be nice?” In contrast, I feel like the overall rhetoric on other platforms is “I have this”. I know this statement totally over simplifies social media in general and I do find a lot of authenticity in other places also. Nonetheless I have really been enjoying Pinterest and feel my sense of style has been sharpened since using it. I probably need to go through and clean up my boards a little bit, since a few things have snuck in that are out of place but in general I am really happy with the little world of visual inspiration I have created! On my boards you will find clean, quirky home inspiration, classic, European inspired fashion (with a heavy dose of summer styling), healthy and well-presented recipes, office inspiration (my personal favourite), and a few more projects to watch that I haven’t made public yet! If you’re there, feel free to give me a follow or leave your details below! I’m looking for people to follow for inspiration so definitely share your favourites with me!

Soul-Scripting

Something I had been meaning to go to for a while was Soul Scripting by Gill Torres. Soul Scripting is a meditative writing practise that takes you through several steps designed to help you connect to your authentic voice. As a creative writing practitioner, I’m interested in how people merge creative writing with spiritual or mindful practises. I had seen this workshop all over social media for a while and was really interested to experience it first-hand. The session was held in Love Thy Neighbour, which is one of my favourite places in Liverpool to eat! (Healthy, delicious food, interesting superfood-filled drinks and a gorgeous interior, complete with pink neon lights.) Gill holds the space really well, the session was really popular and I felt I could have written for hours!

Clue

I didn’t think I needed a period-tracking app but this has proved to be so interesting! If you want an explanation for why you’re suddenly feeling a little down or alternatively super energetic; Clue can tell you whereabouts you are in your cycle and what you’re likely to experience, based on your previous data. With this app the more you use it, the smarter it gets. I only really think about my cycle during the time I’m on and maybe a few days before. In reality where we are in our cycle dictates a lot of things including; energy levels, emotions, eating habits, sleep, sociability, concentration levels, sex drive; the list goes on. You might be surprised by what you learn through tracking each day and this app can be really helpful in connecting the dots.

Podcasts

I am really late to the podcast party but I’ve finally got into them! Especially because I spend what is a whole heartedly un-necessary amount of my time travelling. I’m currently listening to anything around health, wellness and spirituality. Some favourites are: The Balanced Blonde, The Life Stylist by Luke Storey, Morning Matcha and Almost 30. I’m looking to add in any that focus on entrepreneurship. I’m very open to suggestions as I’m only just getting my teeth into these. If you have any favourites, do let me know. Through these podcasts I also came across some very eye-opening interviews with Lacy Phillips, a manifestation advisor. This brings me to…..

Unblocked: Reparent

My final favourite, the Unblocked: Reparent online course by Lacy Phillips from Free & Native. Lacy’s take on manifestation is as down to earth as it gets. She mainly focuses on the psychological aspect of low self-worth standing in the way of us receiving what we truly deserve. Lacy believes that low-self-worth mainly stems from childhood and adolescence conditioning. (Even within those who had great upbringings, there are wounds created by external sources that dwell in nearly every person’s psyche) The process uses a series of Deep Imagining’s (similar to hypnotic journeys) to delve deep and re-program your most magnetic childhood. I’m not going to lie, this is pretty deep! If you would like to challenge some of your limiting beliefs and identify their points of origin; then Lacy is the person for you. Equally, if you feel this sounds far too intense then maybe honour that! I do not think this work is for everyone. Personally I’m so glad I did this. It took me a while to work through but I feel like I’ve cleaned out my brain in a way and I look forward to reporting back on this topic even further down the line, when the work has had a chance to really sink in. Lacy offers several courses worth checking out, including her new one on Partnership.

Currently….

Listening: Miguel: Simple Things

Watching: Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry

Drinking: Yogi Women’s Tea

Reading: Spark Joy by Marie Kondo, Material Girl, Mystical World by Ruby Warrington and The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur.

Wearing: Anything yellow!

And there you have it, an overview on some of the things I have absolutely loved this month! I’ve also had a tonne of Epsom salt baths, been loving mismatched nails (like this look on Pinterest) got really into learning about birth charts and solar returns, attended a gong bath, took a human design quiz, Balayage-d my hair after years of no colour, celebrated my mums birthday and my friends baby shower! What have you loved throughout January? I’d be interested to know if you’ve had experience with any of the things I’ve mentioned too!

Till the next time.

24 Days of Kindness

24 Days of Kindness

 

Christmas can be a very challenging time for some people. While the Christmas films may portray a fuzzy conception that everyone is out to look after their fellow man; that is not always the case. Studies have shown that many charities actually receive fewer donations during this time of year, mental health services are inundated with a higher number of requests for support and from my perspective; I become seemingly more aware of the discrepancies of wealth that exist both in this country and further afield. While real structural change is needed to create a more balanced society (and I believe is something we should collectively be working toward.) I also think there are some very easy simple ways that we can implement some real positive change.

It sounds corny but true change starts from within. Start small; start with your community, your next door neighbour, your auntie, yourself. Kindness is one of the most important, noble traits we can demonstrate during times of struggle. Kindness brings us into the moment, makes us more present and helps us to forge deeper connections. And it’s so easy to do! If we can open ourselves up to giving and receiving kindness this year; then let me tell you I think we might be onto something very powerful indeed.

It seems so simple, so childlike, and almost laughable that someone would think these steps will create a more harmonious society. But I promise you that kindness holds so much more power than we can truly comprehend. Tiny changes can move mountains. There are roughly 7 billion people on the planet: you are not expected to change everything by yourself, but you can commit to making some smaller changes. 24 days of kindness is the least we can do, but it’s a pretty amazing place to start.

Side note: if you don’t like one of these suggestions, then please substitute with your own idea! If you miss a day, or several days then you can do a few in one day. I’ve made them relatively easy to do so that’s they feel achievable. Lastly, please feel free to ask me any questions or to share any experiences/thoughts with me.

With no further ado….

Day 1:

Send 10 messages of positivity. Think of the people around you who are smashing or and tell them why, or send out encouragement to people who need a boost.

Day 2:

Buy a coffee for the person behind you in the queue. If you want you can explain why you’re doing it and encourage them to do the same for someone else.

Day 3:

Buy a homeless person a hot meal or drink, but more importantly, stay to have a conversation. Do just the conversation if you don’t have the money. Buy several people something if you do have the money.

Day 4:

Apologise for something you have done. Awkward and uncomfortable? Maybe so. You’ll feel so much better once you do though.

Day 5:

Anonymous donation. You pick the cause, it could be absolutely anything. The amount is not important. Donate accordingly to your financial situation and don’t feel guilty. If you do not have the money, donate some time. Find one day in the future where you can pitch in and offer your skills, if you have neither the time nor the money: share them on Facebook and with your friends. Marketing is priceless to some organisations.

Day 6:

Bake cookies for someone. Doesn’t have to be cookies (I just happen to be awesome at them.) Make your speciality; it could be a tubberware box of curry, or a pitcher of your infamous cocktail, you decide.

Day 7:

Call up a family member who either lives far away or one you haven’t talked to in a while just to check in and see that they are okay.

Day 8:

Do something kind for yourself. This needs no explanation. Try and make it something beneficial, not just the obvious of comfort food and PJ’s in bed. Sometimes serious things can be kind too. Make that hospital appointment you’ve been putting off; ask for help on the thing that’s bothering you, own up to something, hell even start filling your taxes. All of these are acts of self-kindness in themselves.

Day 9:

Ask a friend “do you need to talk?” and listen. Be present; don’t try to make their problems small. Ask them if they want practical advice or if they just want to be heard before you get started with your response. Remind them they can talk to a professional if they are going through something really serious.

Day 10:

Promote an independent business! So many people will be looking for last minute holiday buys this time of year, could you point them in a direction of a hardworking individual with something unique to sell?

Day 11:

Do something kind to your environment: learn how to recycle, buy some travel cutlery so you don’t have to rely on plastic, put up a bird feeder, plant a seed in your garden, (check first that it can be planted this time of year!) water your plants. Show gratitude.

Day 12:

Say something positive/give a compliment to every person you speak to that day.

Day 13:

Stand up for what you believe in. Everyone has a cause/causes that are close to their heart. Sign a petition, write to an MP, find a local group to get involved with or attend a protest or rally.

Day 14:

Donate some time. Reading to people in hospital, helping at a local food bank, volunteering at an animal shelter; the list goes on and on. You could even offer to babysit for free for a friend or family member. I’m going to be looking into somewhere where I can offer a few hours of reiki for free.

Day 15:

Give away what you don’t need. Friends/family in need, charity shops, women’s refuges, hospitals, community centres, people on the street. Always check first what these people need and then donate accordingly.

Day 16:

Say thank you to your parents or the people who raised you. Sometimes it’s so easy to take peoples help for granted. Sometimes it’s nice for people to hear that they are appreciated. If this isn’t possible for you, then say thank you to someone who has helped you recently.

Day 17:

Tell someone you love them.

Day 18:

Invite someone over for a home cooked meal or give someone a handmade gift. Or do both for two different people.

Day 19:

More self-care! It’s getting close to Christmas and you have been working so hard already to spread the love. Do something today that is just for you and don’t feel bad about it – you can’t pour from an empty cup after all.

Day 20:

Ask “can I help”? Could your friends benefit from some of your knowledge? Could you support a co-worker in any way? Could you offer some work experience/mentoring to someone wanting to work in your field? Could you help paint a neighbour’s house? Ask today one way in which you can help.

Day 21:

Learn more about the world. Read up on one cause you wish you knew more about. Share this knowledge with someone else.

Day 22:

Buy/pick flowers for someone. There’s just something about flowers that make people feel happy.

Day 23:

Leave a happy note for someone to find: a bus, a coffee shop, your office, the street, anywhere.

Day 24:

Touch base with an old friend. We can drift apart from some really fantastic people sometimes, check in with one person, or even several people if you chose to.

You’re done! What have you learned from this process? What would you do again? What have you learned about kindness?

Thank you for participating in this project and I hope you have a very, merry Christmas.

Lyndsay xo

Fake News – A Poem

Fake News – A Poem

I hope you’ve had a great week! As a few of you may have noticed, I have spent the last few weeks/months giving a lot more attention to this blog and posting regular content. This week I thought it might be nice to throw it back to one of my earlier posts for the benefit of anyone new around here. I actually really enjoyed sharing my poetry in this way and am cooking up some ideas of how I can creatively share my work in the future! Hope you enjoy this throwback post. As always let me know what you think and share this post with your poetry-loving friends!

….

I don’t often share my poetry on social media, especially not my longer pieces of spoken word. I know that there are a few video’s of me performing live out there in the ether and I occasionally share smaller pieces of poetry online too, but those sharings are usually reserved for the pieces of work I don’t know what I’d do with otherwise! Saying this, I recently performed at The SAN (Social Auditing Network) Conference, where I was tasked with listening to the talks, then creating and performing some poetry in response. I found this so interesting and really think that pressure-filled assignments like this can produce the most surprising results! So please see below, my take on Fake News – a concept that came up within the conference that sparked my interest.

Fake News

I remember when I was 5 years old
it was a frosty Christmas Eve and I was
filled with excitement and curiosity
I asked my mum how Santa
was going to fit through our tiny chimney
Without even blinking she replied
“He’s got a magic key
he’ll open up the front door
and put your presents under the tree”
I remember when I was 13
my mum cut out the pages of a teen magazine
so that I would not read the article about rape

I’m not saying that what my mum did was bad
from a place of protection and love
my mum did what she could to keep me young
didn’t deny me of the facts
just simply waited till I was old enough

But from as early as I can remember
the truth around us has been twisted to fit an agenda
not necessarily in the name of peace or safety
but in the name of fulfilling someone else’s
unbalanced need

These days, news stories are resembling
whispers on the playground
because truth is a word full of puncture wounds
and is rapidly deflating
Truth has led us down a path with little more than
breadcrumbs in our pockets
Truth is a friend who neglects to text, then posts on Facebook
but says their phone was “broken for a bit”
The truth here is grown inside a petri dish
fed artificial food,
never sees the natural light of day,
instead lives under phosphorescent

I dream of a future where truth is sacred
and never watered down or tampered with

But in a world where truth holds a very hollow meaning
it might be wise to look inside
and see what fake news of our own
we may be perpetuating
I aspire to be a pillar of honesty
but I weave poems out of stories for a living,
turn pain into paper stars
and I sprinkle art all over everything
I would never be able to do that
without a touch of creative licensing

I’m not saying this makes me just as bad
or that we should tell our kids the real reason
why Santa can’t fit through the chimney,
I’m just saying that it’s important to recognise
that even white lies can contribute
to the problem we are having
You are instrumental in the fight for truth
But first, look in the mirror and be honest
because fake news starts with you

Lyndsay Price

….

I hope you’ve enjoyed giving my poem a read! Be sure to check out my goodbye letter last week on ending my poetry night! Stay tuned because in the upcoming weeks I will be sharing; my experience with The Life Changing Magic of Tidying, the reasons why I switched from writing poetry to blogging, the usual monthly wrap-ups and some guest posts from people from all walks of life, living creatively in their own right! Don’t forget to say hi on social media. (Especially since my Instagram is so new and I also have in my humble opinion, the best Pinterest account ever.) Until then!

How To Make Winter Less Shit

How To Make Winter Less Shit

I want the “fall” that is presented to us on social media. On Pinterest fall is a flurry of good looking 20 year olds warming their hands by the rustic, aesthetically pleasing campfire during a pit-stop on their woodland road trip in their upcycled camper van. Instagram presents fall as an endless stretch of cosy night spent in blankets and cosy pyjamas, drinking homemade pumpkin spice lattes in rooms filled with autumnal wreaths and pumpkins (oh and kittens, there are usually kittens). On Facebook I see a million quotes about fall, mainly focusing on “the beauty of losing leaves” etc. while families tag their adorable children in pictures from trips to the pick-your-own-pumpkin patch. Of course this all sounds nice and everything; but the warm, cosy feelings that these images suggest are not just what the colder months means to me.

I am one of those people who feels down during the autumn/winter. The cold does not sit well inside my body. I am prone to chest infections and, like a huge amount of other people in the world; tend to feel suddenly, inexplicably down starting from the first few signs that summer is leaving us.

Of course it’s all what you make of it and perspective is everything and “hey it could be a lot worse” however I can certainly acknowledge that this weather can have a strong impact upon your overall mood and mind-frame and that there are simple things we can put into place to change that.

In the interest of helping myself as much as anyone else, I decided this year to take the time to compile some self-care tips that are practical to help you get to grips with the season change and enjoy yourself to the fullest. You do not need to be unhappy for half the year after all. I actually wrote this in August (that’s how early I was mentally preparing myself for autumn this year) but it felt like now was the best time to finally refine and post it.

Get an Instagram-worthy warm beverage ready; and we will get started

Get Organised

If you celebrate Christmas, I know you don’t want to hear that dreaded “C” word just yet but trust me it will sneak up on you and before you know it: it’s 23rd December and you’re rushing around a packed out town, sweating and panic grabbing a tonne of bath sets as presents just like you promised yourself you weren’t going to. This is not going to help any sort of anxious feelings that you may already be having.

My advice may sound extreme but I recommend you to make your list right now! List everyone you want to buy cards for, list everyone you want to buy presents for, list everything you need on the day, make a note of how many events you are likely to attend and if you want something new to wear to them, draw up a budget, buy them, hell, even gift wrap them and sign them now before November even starts! I promise you the more organised and on top of things you are the less you are going to stress as Christmas draws closer.

(My side note is that I know that some people really do enjoy this time of year so if you want to take your time with it then be my guest. For me personally, I know that Christmas stress can massively contribute to feeling stressed or anxious.)

Get Healthy

Usually health kicks are reserved for summer (sometimes for the wrong reasons; #bikinibody I’m looking at you.) however it is so important to look after yourself during the winter months.

People can be more prone to illness around this time so it’s incredibly important that you look after your body. Get enough vitamins and minerals, if you don’t know the first thing about nutrition then maybe this is the time to start to learn. Drink enough water, get enough sleep, do some exercise, get fresh air. These are the things that people have been saying for years and it’s so easy to read this and think “yeah yeah, I’ll get to it.” but like everything: these things only work if you implement them and stick to them often.

Get a Routine

My morning and evening routines become more important during this time. I noticed last year that I really enjoyed waking up early and getting the most out of the day. During a time when motivation (and sunlight) can be in short supply, a steady routine can make a heap of difference. I fell out of my early morning routine and am so determined to get it back this year!

My evening routine changes around this time of year too. Usually I’m a shower in the morning person but during winter I switch it up: run a bubble bath (see I do take inspiration from Pinterest sometimes.), drink an herbal tea and read in bed. It’s such a lovely way to wind down and if the colder, darker months are good for one thing, it’s reading. Another priceless technique I added to my routine was making a list before I went to bed of everything positive that had happened that day. This process made such a difference to my mood. (I just wish I was slightly better at keeping at it.)

Environment is Everything

You’re going to be spending a lot more time in your home most likely, so it’s important that you make your space feel like somewhere you want to be! Make it relaxing and inviting. Have a winter clear out, change things up, move some furniture around; movement is great for shifting energy and will give your place a revive. I know that looks aren’t everything but your brain really does respond to what it can see. Bright colours can have an uplifting effect so even consider a new lick of paint. Don’t feel like you can only use autumn/winter colours: last year I bought a yellow duvet and it genuinely lifted my mood every time I saw it. Things like candles, flowers, art, blankets, rugs, lamps, fairy lights etc. can all be brought pretty cheaply and can make a massive difference to the atmosphere in your space.

Embrace It

“If you can’t beat them, join them” as they say! Make a list of everything you do like about autumn/winter. This time of year is full of great events; pumpkin picking, woodland walks, Halloween parties, haunted tours, foraging, bonfires, firework displays, winter fairs, Christmas Markets, this is the time to get out and explore! A little known fact is that winter is often the best season of the year for theatre’s and art galleries; places tend to get the most audience members at this time of the year and tend to really put thought into programming some great shows and exhibitions during this time, if there was ever a time to go see some art, now would be it! Also as mentioned earlier, reading is another great habit to pick up during this time. You could even make a list of all the books you’d like to get through in the next few months or start asking round for recommendations.

Plant The Seed

With every season, it’s good to look to nature for inspiration or ideas on how best to spend your time. Winter is a time for seeds to grow deep underground. After harvest everything appears to go quiet, but there are many things happening beneath the surface, working away to ensure that they can bloom later in the year. Use this time to plant your own seeds. Make some plans for future projects and reflect on what has been going well this year, and what is still to be done. As a freelancer, winter is usually when I hunker down and really fine tune my plans for future creative projects. Decide what else you would like to do before the year is out and make some resolutions for the New Year.

Spend A Little

Money is not everything and I do hope that I can discourage people from spending mindlessly. I think we all need to be conscious of how much we consume. That said, there are a few things that you can buy that can really make life easier for you this time of year.

Some things worth spending your money on are:

  • Lightboxes
  • Dawn simulator
  • Air humidifier (can help with coughs/colds/sore throats and also fragrance the air with natural essential oils.)
  • Natural candles/essential oils with uplifting scents
  • Skincare (cracked dry and bleeding hands are no fun – treat yourself to something that can calm and nourish your skin)
  • Yoga/meditation classes & apps. (For me one of the most worthwhile things to spend your money on. I’d go for an actual class over an app but either is a great option.) YouTube is also a great source. I often pop my headphones on and look
  • Anything cosy: hot water bottle, hand warmers, hats, scarves, gloves, socks, boots, slippers, pyjamas, coats. Buy what you know you will need or even suggest a clothes swap with some friends if you want to save money.
  • Don’t forget to set aside some money for trips away/concerts/cinema etc. I think it’s really important to be social this time of year and it’s always best to have a little saved away in case of any last minute invites.

Participate

While it’s so easy to shut away and hibernate and we have all the excuses at our fingertips “I have a cold” “It’s raining” “It’s too cold to go outside” it’s so important to hang out with your friends! Make plans (look back to earlier when you made your list of events you want to go to!) and stick to them. Social interaction is so important this time of year. If it really is too cold then plan lots of cosy nights in: think home cooked pizzas and board games. Don’t forget about your family either. Make a conscious effort to attend things you’re interested in: feeling part of a community with like-minded people can hugely impact your mood.

Give Back

I have to break something to you; I have worked for three very different charities over the years of who all rely heavily on the support of the public. I can tell you that Christmas was the hardest time for all of them financially. I know the Christmas films would have you believe that everyone is out to help their fellow man this time of year, but this isn’t always the case. (Of course my experience is limited and I’m sure some other charities may receive a surge of income this time of year also.) This doesn’t necessarily mean people are selfish; it’s an expensive time and a lot of people out there are already struggling. But what I am saying is that it’s really important to be kind this time of year. Think of the people who are less fortunate than you in any way and find a way to give back. Helping people gives you a buzz like no other and, you know; helps people in the process. It doesn’t have to be big; make someone laugh; help someone carry their luggage, be patient with the people who work in customer service. Whatever you do, just be kind.

Get Away

Big or small, we all love a holiday. If you can afford a month in the tropics, then go. If you can afford a weekend to the next city, go. Even if you aren’t travelling to a warmer destination; having a break from your normal routine and exploring a new place can be massively beneficial to your wellbeing.

Although I would say that more and more people these days are considering life in another country. While I haven’t yet decided if this is the life for me, I strongly urge you to look into it if you have the means to. While it might sound slightly extreme, impractical or expensive; for some of you it might be more attainable than you think. I know it sounds extreme but if you are largely affected by your climate then isn’t it worth at least considering it?

Know When to Ask for Help

While these tips can certainly lift a mood, if you are seriously struggling with SAD or anything else, please seek professional help or the support of people you trust. It’s not always a good idea to try and go it alone. If you feel you are struggling during this time then please do not waste a moment in seeking advice.

I’d love to know if any of these tips work for you. If you have any of your own, please let me know!

Lots of love and reluctant festive hugs

Lyndsay

*the lovely photograph in this post is by Sinead from Love Style Mindfulness. You can see her blog here: https://www.lovestylemindfulness.co.uk/contact/